Carers Rights Day - 25th November

There are over 220,000 carers across Northern Ireland and we estimate there are thousands more out there providing care to ill, disabled or elderly loved ones who do not yet recognise themselves as being carers

As a result they are Missing Out on the practical, financial and emotional supports available to them which could help them in their caring role.

For many people, looking after an ill, older or disabled loved one doesn’t have a name, it is ‘just something you do’. However, not recognising you are carrying out a caring role can be a real barrier to accessing vital support. If you do not see yourself as a carer, then you are unlikely to consider asking for a carer’s assessment, applying for Carer’s Allowance, or seeking advice from others who find themselves in similar circumstances.  Not recognising you are caring means missing out on help, advice and information, with serious personal and financial implications.

Those looking after older or disabled loved ones are missing out on vital practical and financial support with disastrous consequences for their own health and finances, according to our latest report . People often don’t see themselves as carers and as a result, miss out on support they are entitled to. More than half of people surveyed here (58%) took over a year to recognise their caring role and more than one in four (29%) took over 5 years to identify as a carer.

Half of carers (52%) surveyed said missing out on support impacted negatively on their finances and a similar number (50%) said it had an impact on their physical health.

Carers NI are using Carers Rights Day to reach as many of the 220,000+ carers in NI as possible with information about their rights and the financial and practical help they are entitled to; including benefits, such as Carer’s Allowance, respite and access to equipment and technology which can help them in their caring role.

Carers NI is calling for:

•           A new duty on the NHS and education professionals to put in place policies to identify carers and to promote their health and well-being.

•           Development of education, information and training for a range of frontline professionals to increase knowledge and signposting of carers

•           Improved access to information and advice for carers

•           A public awareness campaign to improve understanding and recognition of carers

Can you help?

Share the Carers UK report via your professional networks and social media.

Headline findings:

•   More than half of people (58%) took over a year to recognise their caring role, more than one in four (29%) took over 5 years to identify as a carer.

•   Some groups of carers, such as those caring for disabled children or people with mental health conditions, or caring at a distance, take longer than average to identify their role

•    9 in 10 carers (91%) of carers said they missed out on financial or practical support (or both) as a result of not identifying as a carer

Carers NI have also recently published a Carers Rights Guide 

Looking after someone? Support is available  #carersrightsday 

If you have any questions about the report or the guide, please feel free to contact Clare Anne Magee at Carers NI on 028 90439843

Through the NICVA Detail Data project, we published a story 'Who Cares for Carers' in June 2016. For more information on the Detail Data project, contact Coordinator Andrea Thornbury.  

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